French President Emmanuel Macron appears to have walked back on his previous comments about sending troops to Ukraine.

Last week, while answering questions during a press conference following a meeting of European Union leaders in Paris, Macron said that “nothing should be excluded” when it came to backing Ukraine in its two-year fight to fend off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invading forces. However, the French leader also said that there was “no consensus at this stage” about putting Western boots on the ground.

During an interview with Czech news publication Novinky.cz. that was published in part on Monday, Macron discussed his February 26 remarks but emphasized that France is not actively considering sending military forces to Ukraine.

“In response to one question I was asked about sending troops, I said that nothing is out of the question,” Macron recalled of his remark while speaking to the publication.

Emmanuel Macron Troops to Ukraine
Main image, Ukrainian soldiers are seen in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on February 23, 2024. Inset, French President Emmanuel Macron is seen in Paris on February 27, 2024. The French president appears to have…


Christian Liewig – Corbis, Anatolii STEPANOV / AFP/Getty

“This does not mean that we are considering the possibility of sending French troops to Ukraine in the near future, but we are starting discussions and thinking about everything that can be done to support Ukraine, especially on Ukrainian territory,” Macron said.

During the interview, the French president highlighted that participants at the meeting in Paris last week came to an agreement on wanting to offer more assistance to Ukraine in five areas, namely cyber defense, military equipment production, security for countries threatened by the Russian offensive, support along the Belarus border and mine clearance operations.

Newsweek reached out via email on Monday to Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Macron’s office for comment.

Western countries, while supplying billions of dollars in military aid to Kyiv, have remained hesitant or outright dismissed the idea of sending troops, which would draw them more directly into confrontation with Russia.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby previously dismissed Macron’s comment about Western nations sending soldiers to Ukraine. The day after the French president’s comments, Kirby said that President Joe Biden was “crystal-clear” in his opposition to sending U.S. or NATO troops, a move that could compel the strategic alliance to fight Russia and spark the beginning of a world war.

Recently, Ukraine has suffered a series of setbacks in the wake of a decrease in military aid from Western allies. These include the loss in late February of the Dontesk city of Avdiivka after several months of fighting and at least three additional settlements close to the city.